"Cor" Story: Pastoral Ministry Major, Brain Cancer Survivor Plans to Help Patients

Jonathan Cunningham


Published Date: June 27, 2014

The University of Dallas Cor Fund provides scholarships to hundreds of UD students. We are sharing some of their stories. Donations to the Cor Fund come from alumni, parents and friends of UD.

Jonathan Cunningham, BA '17, is a brain cancer survivor, which is why he intends to attend physician assistant school. He has spoken with medical professionals of various specialties at St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, one of the hospitals where he was treated after his diagnosis at four and a half years old. These conversations have helped him realize that while he hopes to work with cancer patients, his passion lies in working with the ill and the injured in general, aiding in providing both comfort and healing.

Cunningham is a pastoral ministry major with a focus on pre-physician assistant school and a concentration in Spanish. Having taken five years of Spanish in high school and knowing many Spanish speakers in his home parish in Austin, it seemed the natural choice to continue with this language at the college level, especially when he received a Spanish scholarship from the Modern Languages Department.

Outside of class, Cunningham participates in the Campus Ministry Men's Group, Crusaders for Life and Swing Club. Swing Club meets on Wednesday nights, which provides a nice middle-of-the-week break.

"It's a really fun community," Cunningham said of his fellow Wednesday night swing dancers.

Cunningham also plays the baritone and formed a brass ensemble in the spring 2014 semester along with three trumpet players and two French horn players. They performed at the monthly Brown Bag Recitals held by the Music Department.

To round all of this out, Cunningham enjoys Ultimate Frisbee, and he is an Eagle Scout, which has led to a love of camping. He has been camping in many spots around Dallas and Austin.

Clearly, although Cunningham's career goal is to become a physician assistant, his interests and skills are not limited to this area — which is why UD is the perfect school for him, with its liberal arts foundation that nourishes a well-rounded life.

"I decided to come to UD because of the great combination of academics, faith and study abroad, as well as the community on campus," Cunningham said.

The Cor Fund assisted in paving Cunningham's way here, and his UD education will assist in paving his way to a career in which he will be able to help others the way he was helped as a child.

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